How a Simple Browser Plug-In Could Dramatically Reduce Piracy Online…

You can’t bust a crime that you don’t know about.  Just like you can’t remove a link or file that you don’t know exists.   

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Which brings us to MUSO, an anti-piracy company that feels it has discovered a better way to detect illegal content online.  MUSO is now preparing to release a browser plug-in that it feels will dramatically lower the amount of piracy online through ‘crowdsourced detection’.

This is basically about finding billions more nooks-and-crannies in a more effective manner.  “MUSO already searches over four billion web pages to find illegal files on behalf of our clients, but the new plug-in tool could help us look through billions more,” MUSO Technical Director James Mason told Digital Music News.

“If every employee at every record or media company downloads this plugin, if every artist concerned who has experienced piracy of their own music spreads the message to their fans about the plugin, then we could see a wide reaching application and positive effect for rights holders.”

Here are the details, per MUSO:

(1) The plugin will be free to download from muso.com, and will immediately send suspect links back to the MUSO database.

This happens when the plugin hits a webpage that contains illegal content, plain and simple.

(2) Cyberlockers, and similar download sites, do not generally allow direct searching.  

Therefore, links are often found through search engines, forums and blog sites that link back to the cyberlocker.  That makes this a better method for finding these embedded links.

(3) MUSO says privacy is not a concern, as the plug does not collect any user information or details on web-surfing habits.

“The plugin simply searches any webpages they are on for links to cyberlockers and torrents as the user goes about their general internet usage. A report bar will show the user how many files have been found and submitted to the MUSO database.”

(4) MUSO says aggressive anti-piracy is working.

“As the debate of internet freedom and piracy rages on, the music industry continues to see declining album sales year on year, but MUSO are seeing robust anti-piracy strategies are having a positive effect on their clients’ sales. Working with major names in the music and film industry, MUSO have seen tangible results of the positive effect their work is having.”

MUSO did not specify a launch date for the ‘Assist Browser Plug-In,’ but Chrome will be first on the list.  IE and Firefox then follow.  We’ll have more screenshots of the plug-in, hopefully this week.

33 Responses

  1. Visitor

    I just checked MUSO’s prices, and they’re still ridiculously high — £80 per month per 1000 takedowns. And then you even have to do half the work yourself…

    But prices are definitely dropping, and fast.

    A few years ago, one single takedown could cost as much as $100. So they’ll reach a decent level in a couple of years.

    The first company that’s going to sell 1k takedowns for $1 is going to be huge.

    • Zach

      I love this sentiment! I am the Founder/CEO of Topple Track (Top 10 in Google Transparency Report) We’re growing at rapid pace right now because of exactly this.

      $3 / $5 for lifetime protection of songs. (USD)

      Currently we focus on the dance music niche but our technology is agnostic in terms of content type.

      By our estimates 87% of all copyright holders do nothing in terms of copyright monitoring or protection. Crowdsourcing protection provides an additional layer to a process that is already highly confusing and litigous for most users.

      I think it works for 24 hours for Lady Gaga, as a business model, errr.

      • Visitor

        “$3 / $5 for lifetime protection of songs. (USD)”

        YES! 🙂

        Thank you very much for posting — I’ve been waiting so long for something like this.

        Guys, check it out:

        • Visitor

          … oh, and Paul?

          Why not invite Zack to write a guest post about this?

          It seems to be the real deal.

      • Visitor

        …also, I’m the one who mentioned Lady Gaga’s ‘crowdsourcing protection’, but I didn’t mean to recommend it as a business model.

        The beautiful thing about Little Monster’s initiative is that it shows us a new trend:

        Hunting Pirates Is Cool

        And the Testimonial section on your site tells us the same story:

        People just don’t hide their hunting activities anymore, like they did five years ago. On the contrary, it’s a symbol of self-respect today.

        It says:

        Sure, you can give your music away if you think it’s worthless.

        But my music is valuable.

        So I sell it!

  2. Is this a joke?

    “…if every artist concerned who has experienced piracy of their own music spreads the message to their fans about the plugin…”

    Is this a joke? We will send a newsletter to our fans telling them what? “Hey fan. Would you like to stop listening to free music and start paying for all the music that you listen to?”

    This is a joke, right?

    “…the music industry continues to see declining album sales year on year…”

    That’s the fate of the music industry. Music is not an industry any more. Eventually they will all have zero sales. It’s the year 2013. Recorded music is free. If an artist doesn’t give away his/her music for free, nobody will ever care about his/her music. We all see it. We all know it. People want free music.

    • Visitor

      “We will send a newsletter to our fans telling them what?”

      No need for that, fans don’t steal. Thieves do.

      “People want free music.”

      Sure.

      They also want free beer, true love and eternal life.

      Guess what they get.

      • Evolution

        “No need for that, fans don’t steal. Thieves do.”

        I’ve got news for you, my friend. Fans are the very first people (and in some cases the last ones) that will download your next song/album for free.

        “They also want free beer, true love and eternal life. Guess what they get.”

        When beer, true love and eternal life become a downloadable file, then people will download all three of them for free.

        We have entered a new era. Everything is being digitalized. There will come a day when our food will be digital. Computers will feed people and people won’t have to go to work.

        Music is one of the very first things that have been digitalized. There are more digitalizations on the way.

        In the 21st century music is free, it is not an industry any more. Nowadays, each time I come across the term “music industry” I just laugh.

        • Value Is Overrated

          Now if only we could digitize musicians, lyricists, music teachers, instrument-makers, and maybe the fans too.

          I can’t tell if you’re one of these Church of the Singularity types or just someone who says, “Oh well, nothing can be done about this,” but either way it’s a crappy attitude to have. If humans are to have less and less value as more of our life gets digitized, what’t the point of all this technology? I can’t wait a future where computers sit around listening to music created by computers. Maybe a computer will paint a digital picture of ‘The Robot Scream’ but no one will be around to give a shit.

        • Visitor

          “Fans are the very first people (and in some cases the last ones) that will download your next song/album for free.”

          Of course not. 🙂

          Your fans — if any — know that you can’t afford to make new songs for them, unless they buy the old ones.

          That’s why they don’t like parasites.

          On the contrary.

          Modern fans protect the acts that they love. A beautiful example is Lady Gaga’s little monsters:

          https://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2013/20130812gagawage

          They even posted direct links to this:

          http://privacypolicy.umusic.com/piracy/

          Let’s face it my friend, people just don’t like pirates anymore.

          “In the 21st century music is free, it is not an industry any more. Nowadays, each time I come across the term “music industry” I just laugh.”

          Sorry, but you live in the past.

          Music sales rose in 2012 for the first time in 14 years!

          Source: Financial Times, February 26, 2013:

          http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/f7b0f2b0-8009-11e2-adbd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2MNEc5fTL

          • GGG

            Remember guys. Record sales are up when you talk about defeating piracy. Record sales are down when you talk about streaming/Spotify.

            This has been a lesson in Visitor logic.

          • Evolution

            Those Lady Gaga fans are “paid fans,” (generated through paid ads etc) so your example is useless.

            As for the “Music sales rose in 2012 for the first time in 14 years”, it just made me laugh. Let’s see what is that “growth” according to Financial Times: “While revenues rose only 0.3%…”

            hahahahaha

            Wow! I am amazed! 0.3%!!! We have to stand and applaud! lol

            I’ve got news for you, my friend. Whjatever you say, whatever you write, the reality in only one. In a short period of time, ALL record labels will shut down or change completely. If you work for a record label or for the music “industry” in general you will most probably get fired.

            Wake up. The music “industry” in crumbling down. Music will win. Music will be free for everyone.

            In a few years from now, any artist that doesn’t give away his/her music for free, will simply disappear.

          • Visitor

            “Those Lady Gaga fans are “paid fans””

            No, they’re real. And that is indeed a problem for people like you, isn’t it?

            “In a few years from now, any artist that doesn’t give away his/her music for free, will simply disappear.”

            That’s what you guys said ten years ago, but artists and consumers didn’t get the memo:

            Music sales rose in 2012 for the first time in 14 years!

            http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/f7b0f2b0-8009-11e2-adbd-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2MNEc5fTL

          • Evolution

            No, they’re real. And that is indeed a problem for people like you, isn’t it?

            Really? Check this out (and hunderds of similar articles):

            http://omg.yahoo.com/blogs/celeb-news/fake-belieber-epidemic-justin-gaga-rihanna-don-t-132425987.html

            Justin Bieber: 32% Fake, 31% Inactive, 37% Good
            Lady Gaga: 51% Fake, 30% Inactive, 19% Good
            Katy Perry: 40% Fake, 32% Inactive, 28% Good

            “That’s what you guys said ten years ago, but artists and consumers didn’t get the memo”

            Really?

            Well, I would like to thank ALL major label artists and independent artists for uploading their music on YouTube and other similar sites by their own free will, so that everyone can enjoy FREE music. Apparently they got the message. The day that those artists stop giving to the people free music, that very same day will also be their last in the international music scene. People will just stop listening to their music.

    • GGG

      I don’t think you realize how much the indie music scene/festival circuit owes to piracy/streaming. And no, this is not a defense of piracy, just a statement of fact.

      • Visitor

        Piracy cut music sales down by more than 50% from 1999-2012.

        Nobody — except the Piracy Industry — owes a thing to piracy.

        • GGG

          Exactly. Music sales were cut in half, yet we have more independent bands/artists (or really just mid-level in general) than ever able to play a couple thousand head rooms (until their hype dries up, of course) and get paid tens of thousands+ for a 50 minute festival slot. Meanwhile they sell 25K records. Where do you think the rest of that popularity comes from? The same 25K follow them around the country and go to every gig?

  3. Bob

    Soo… How exactly does this work? From my understanding, it seems that they want people who pirate music to install a tracker that reports the sites they use… so, what exactly is the strategy that entices them to do that?

    • Faza (TCM)

      Not exactly. The people who are supposed to have this installed are:

      a. record company folks,

      b. artists,

      c. fans (proper ones, not pirates).

      The point – as I understand it – is that it’s easier for the interested parties to locate their own pirated material than it is for a third party who is looking after a large number of different holders’ rights.

      The upside is that if you find one artist’s pirated work (your own, for example) you might also discover someone else’s in the bargain (and vice versa), which makes the whole thing more powerful in locating infringing links.

      Can’t say how much good that’ll do in the long run – depends on uptake, I suppose. Plus, it will really boil down to how well it translates into actual takedowns. Or – here’s hoping – evidence for criminal copyright infringement lawsuits.

  4. Visitor

    So, I’ve downloaded music from bands I like when it comes out and is not perhaps immediately available. I am a fan of theirs, and I am “Pirating” their music. I’ve bought all their other CDs, give their new songs a listen, and perhaps find that, I didn’t like any of their new songs. So, I go ahead and don’t buy from them their newest CD. Is it wrong to want to see if you’ll like the music? Case in Point newer Pearl Jam albums sound nothing like what I loved to hear them make, and in the case of Sonata Arctica’s newest album. I disliked both, wouldn’t ever pay for it, and yet I’ve bought all their other albums. So please, don’t try to BS me with calling me not a true fan, because guess what, I don’t owe them anything.

    • Visitor

      “So, I’ve downloaded music from bands”

      Downloaded? You mean stolen?

      I guess the positive thing about your post is that you feel so guilty that you have to use a euphemism.

      But I can assure you that nobody needs, likes or wants a ‘fan’ like you.

      • GGG

        Go hang out at a nearby venue with midlevel indie artists and poll the audience. What % of people do you really think will have bought their music?

    • Visitor

      FYI there are free ‘previews’ available on iTunes that gives you 90 seconds of the song. If you don’t like it don’t buy it… but that isn’t an excuse to pirate it. In fact, you should have ZERO reason to visit a pirate site. Just you visiting there gives money to very scurrilous people